SLCN: Spotting the signs

Identifying children with SLCN is not always easy, SLCN is often referred to as ‘ the hidden disability’​

There are however a range of tools to enable children’s needs to be identified including, many of which are freely available.

  • Information on typical speech and language development can be used to identify those children whose communication skills are not developing as we’d expect. These include:
  • Talking Point – a website full of information on typical language development with a  useful Progress Checker.
  • Universally Speaking – a series of booklets showing where children should be with their communication skills at ages Birth -5 years, 5-11 years and 11-18 years.
  • The Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools are resources covering Primary and Secondary years to support teaching staff to identify children who may be struggling to develop their speech, language and communication skills.  They are available to order from here. A useful video explains how the Progression Tools can be used effectively.
  • For quick and easy reference to developmental milestones these Primary and Secondary posters are a useful resource.
  • Schools can use this simple guide to support identification.


  • ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ is an easy to read guide to SLCN and what it can look like in a classroom.
  • Read these case studies of good practice in identifying children and young people with SLCN.

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